Monday, May 22, 2006

Life in the fast lane

Life is about making memories. I logged some memorable moments last weekend when I took my car to an auto-cross. I had never done this before and so was a little apprehensive about it: since i don't own another car, if i screwed up my car, i was, well, screwed. Also, I had no idea who I was running against. Being competitive by nature (and having read "The Art of War") I didn't want to get into a competition without any hopes of doing well (let alone winning).

But I let Steve and Kurt talk me into driving my car up there (a part of me wanted to anyways). So once I was at the track and smelt the rubber and the excitement in the air, I knew I was going to sign on the dotted line.

So before you could say "2002 Special Edition Stock Mazda Miata with street tires" I was lined up with the novices and ready to go. And since this was my first time, I requested that an experienced driver (put his life and well-being in the hands of a complete stranger) ride with me. Sure enough, Brandon Vincent (who drives a hot Corvette) volunteered.

In the next few seconds, a few things became apparent:
1. the car is usually in two modes: "full throttle" and "standing on the brakes"
2. my car has way too much horse-power for its weight
3. making the car drift and correcting it, seems to come naturally to me
4. where lesser cars would slide and lose control, the Miata shines effortlessly
5. "them dang cones are doggone difficult to spot"
6. experience alone doesn't trump talent
7. talent alone doesn't trump experience
8. you compete not against others, but against time, physics and yourself
9. Sun Tzu said a whole bunch of things which have nothing to do with auto-cross

So in all, I had about 8 runs. I DNFed (did not finish) my very first run because I completely missed a "gate", but subsequently, with Brandon's help, improved considerably. Of course the fact that the rain stopped and the course began to dry out also helped.

So how did I do overall? Out of 14 novice drivers (some with more experience than I) I finished 12th!

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